Residents of Tyler have been pushing for a name change since 2017, but with the most recent debate over changing Robert E. Lee High School’s name, the Tyler ISD board of Trustees is preparing to vote on whether or not they are going to keep the name. Board President— Was Washmon— announced a special meeting to be held on Thursday. The meeting’s sole purpose will be voting on the name change.
“The names of our high schools, gifted to us by a prior generation, have been the source of much debate and consternation in our beloved community, and candidly have become an increasingly bigger stumbling block to our focus as a school district on successful students outcomes and our efforts toward unity as a city,” Washmon said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “Since our last board meeting, individual members have been meeting with, listening to, and getting feedback from across the community on this issue. The meetings have been comprised of groups of citizens and trusted individuals therein who represent a true cross-section of town; and we have heard the opinions and concerns of the community.”
The meeting will take place Thursday evening giving board members a chance to share their thoughts. Washmon mentioned that if the board votes to move ahead with a name change, they will lay out the process for doing so.
“It’s my hope that we can move forward, through, and from this issue in unison with a poised and rational demeanor so we can turn our focus back to successful student outcomes,” he said acknowledging the fact that there are great hurdles the district may have to jump regarding the novel COVID-19 coronavirus and impending budget cuts.
The meeting will air on TISD-TV, TylerISD.org, and the Tyler ISD YouTube channel.
With an increasing awareness of racist images, mascots, fight songs, and more surrounding the sporting world, a name change could be one of the first dominoes to fall in the high school world. Could this mean even more change is coming for more schools and teams across the state?